On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, more basic income news and updates

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States, helping to remember and celebrate the legacy of the great civil rights leader. Shortly before being assassinated in 1968, Reverend King championed the idea of basic (aka guaranteed) income, saying that he was “now convinced that the simplest solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income. A host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement.”

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Universal basic income is ready to go mainstream

Wired

Universal basic income (UBI) is a 500-year-old idea that will finally go mainstream in 2018. Invented by Sir Thomas More in Utopia, his 1516 "no place" imagining of the perfect society, UBI is the idea that the government should provide all its citizens with a living wage, irrespective of whether they work or not.

Over the past 500 years, UBI is an idea that has been revisited many times - most notably in the mid-19th century by Karl Marx, who imagined a post-capitalist industrial economy of such collective wealth that it would leave all of us free to "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening and criticise after dinner".

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Economic adviser backs Scottish Government’s basic income plans

An economic adviser to the Scottish Government has backed plans for a citizen’s basic income, saying it will “transform life” in deprived parts of Scotland.

The Government is working with four councils to fund research into the feasibility of the scheme which provides a flat rate payment to all adult citizens. Harry Burns, a member of the Scottish Government’s council of economic advisers and a former chief medical officer, said the payments would boost educational achievement, cut unemployment and reduce crime.


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Majority of basic income applicants continue to be 'working poor'

Roderick Benns

As basic income enrollments continue in Lindsay and two other Ontario cities, one key trend seems to be emerging – the so-called ‘working poor’ are the majority of applicants who are flocking to the Province’s new Ontario pilot.

Myriam Denis, a spokesperson for the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Minister of Housing, Peter Milczyn, says a total ‎of 1,149 people were enrolled in the basic income pilot across Lindsay, Hamilton and Brant County, and Thunder Bay. Local breakdowns are not yet available.

Of those applicants, 70 per cent are “low income workers,” says Denis.

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Bitcoin fund donates millions in cryptocurrency to universal basic income charity

The Independent

Bitcoin and universal basic income were two concepts of fierce debate within global business communities in 2017. Now, a bitcoin fund has announced that it has committed $5m (£3.7m) worth of the cryptocurrency to the charity behind a massive universal basic income experiment across parts of Kenya and Uganda.

The Pineapple Fund is an organisation that mines, buys and trades crytpocurrencies. According to its website it donates to a number of charities, including several that work towards supplying poor communities with water, promoting gender equality, and one that is campaigning for the legalisation of psychedelic medicine.

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Citizen's income: Could it work in Scotland?

BBC

The basic income system is a radical redesign of tax and welfare - completely redrawing the relationship between the state and the citizen.

Under such a system, every individual would be given a cash payment at regular intervals, without any requirement to work or demonstrate a willingness to work. Several different figures have been suggested, mostly in the rough area of £100 a week for adults.

As the name suggests, it would be universal - paid out to every citizen regardless of their wealth, employment or personal status - and would be enough to cover the basics of life. It would serve as a replacement for existing benefits payments such as jobseeker's allowance.

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Why some countries are considering handing out free money

CNBC

Imagine receiving a pile of cash each month from the government, no strings attached.

The concept sounds radical, but it's an economic theory gaining traction from Silicon Valley to the Nordics, called universal basic income. Free money experiments are underway in a handful of countries as governments face evolving workforces and strained welfare systems.

The International Monetary Fund defines universal basic income as "a cash transfer of an equal amount to all individuals in a country."

Universal basic income differs from other government transfers, like tax refunds or welfare payments, in that every individual receives the same amount. Recipients can spend the money however they like, and they aren't required to report how they spend it.

 

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